The Tigers will be buyers at the deadline

Leave a comment

There’s
a lot of talk about how rough it may be for teams going nowhere this
year to unload talent and salary at the deadline, but according to
owner Mike Illitch, the Tigers will be buying:

Ilitch
has a first-place baseball team, and he said he would do whatever was
necessary to ensure the Tigers remained in first place — even if that
meant adding more to an already inflated payroll.

“We’re
going to do whatever we’ve got to do,” Ilitch said. “We’re three games
in first. What are we going to do? There are a lot of things that we
can do. We’re going to try to improve one way or the other.”

Despite
all of the talk about Dontrelle Willis, the Tigers are in greater need
of offense than pitching, as they have four solid starters but are
second to last in the AL in runs per game. Still, their team ERA is
only a bit above average too, which suggests that the Tigers could be
in the market for any number of players. If Colorado thinks clearly and
realizes that their mini-run, while nice, isn’t evidence that they’re
true contenders, they may do well by dangling Jason Marquis and/or Brad
Hawpe at the Tigers. Matt Holliday would be a pretty useful rental too,
as would Nick Johnson, Alex Rios, or Aburey Huff.

Whatever they
do — as long as they avoid pitching Willis every fifth day — the
Tigers appear to be in good shape in a weak division, and that’s
especially true now that it seems that their owner is willing to load
for bear.

Report: Padres trade Matt Kemp to the Braves for Hector Olivera

SAN DIEGO, CA - JUNE 06:  Matt Kemp #27 of the San Diego Padres talks in the dugout prior to the start of the game against the Atlanta Braves at PETCO Park on June 6, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Kent Horner/Getty Images)
Kent Horner/Getty Images
4 Comments

Update (7:01 PM EDT): David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports the deal has been completed.

*

ESPN’s Keith Law reported on Saturday evening that a bad contract swap involving the Braves’ Hector Olivera and the Padres’ Matt Kemp was “getting close.” Olivera has been pulled off the field, per Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that only a last-second medical would kill the deal at this point, and that the Padres will be sending money to the Braves.

Kemp, 31, will have $64.5 million remaining on his contract through 2019 after this season, but the Dodgers will pay $3.5 million annually over those remaining three years, so the $64.5 million is really $54 million. The veteran has compiled a .262/.285/.489 triple-slash line with 23 home runs and 69 RBI in 431 plate appearances for the Padres this season.

Olivera, 31, will have $28.5 million remaining on his contract through 2020 after this season. The outfielder was handed an 82-game suspension, beginning on May 26, for his involvement in a domestic dispute on April 13. The suspension is up on August 2. He has a .501 OPS in 21 major league at-bats this season and a .278 OPS in 37 PA at Triple-A.

Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports that the Padres will consider designating Olivera for assignment. The trade is all about the salary dump for the Padres, as they’d rather give outfield playing time to prospects Hunter Renfroe and Manuel Margot.

Athletics trade Billy Burns to the Royals for Brett Eibner

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - MAY 13: Billy Burns #1 of the Oakland Athletics waits on deck to bat during the fourth inning of a game against the Tampa Bay Rays on May 13, 2016 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
Brian Blanco/Getty Images
5 Comments

The Athletics and Royals swapped outfielders on Saturday. The Athletics sent Billy Burns to Kansas City and the Royals sent Brett Eibner to Oakland.

Burns, 26, doesn’t provide much in the way of offense, but he runs the bases well and plays solid defense. He was hitting .234/.270/.303 with 11 doubles, four triples, and 14 stolen bases in 274 plate appearances.

Eibner, 27, was batting .231/.286/.423 with three home runs and 10 RBI in 85 plate appearances. He has spent most of the season with Triple-A Omaha, where he’s put up a .902 OPS in 219 PA. Eibner played the outfield corners in the majors, but racked up a ton of time playing center in the minors, so his versatility will be valuable to the A’s.

Burns will become eligible for arbitration for the first time after the 2017 season while Eibner has hardly accrued any service time, which might explain part of the motivation behind the trade for the small-market Athletics.